In perhaps its toughest road trip of the year, Stanford’s baseball team was swept in Corvallis, Ore., this weekend by No. 6 Oregon State (25-6, 9-3 Pac-12) in three tight games dominated by pitching. With the sweep, the Beavers extended their winning streak against the Cardinal (10-14, 3-6) to an all-time high eight games dating back three seasons, as they won by scores of 4-1, 1-0 (13 innings) and 2-1.
The Stanford pitching staff held the Beavers to just seven runs and a .204 batting average over the three-game series, particularly notable considering Oregon State’s 6.7 runs per game average this season.
Freshman Cal Quantrill continued to dominate in his start on Saturday, allowing just five baserunners and striking out six over eight shutout innings. He has settled in as the season has progressed, in which each subsequent start has seemed to top the previous one. Over his last six starts, Quantrill has a 0.70 ERA (three earned runs over 38.1 innings) and a 0.68 WHIP, lowering his season ERA to 2.60.
Stanford’s bullpen also excelled in Corvallis, allowing no earned runs over a combined 14.1 innings. Junior John Hochstatter had the team’s strongest outing of the weekend, coming in on Sunday for freshman starter Chris Viall in the second inning and finishing the game with 6.2 scoreless innings.
Yet one of the key stories of the weekend was the ineffectiveness of Stanford’s offense, as the Oregon State staff — ranked 10th nationally with a 2.28 ERA entering this weekend — outpitched the Cardinal, allowing just two total runs over the three games.
“We need to score some runs. We’ve been inept with the bat the last three weeks, even the games we won,” said head coach Mark Marquess. “Offensively, we have to pick it up.”
Although the Cardinal actually outhit their opponents .211 to .204 over the three games, they still weren’t able to score runners once they got on base — an issue for the team that has appeared throughout the season, as they have averaged eight runners left on base per game this season through the Oregon State series. Stanford hit just .105 (2-for-19) with runners in scoring position and left a total of 27 runners on base over the weekend.
On Friday, both teams got off to strong starts, each loading the bases in a 25-minute first inning. Yet in a microcosm of the series, Stanford stranded all three runners after an infield fly and a flyout from the heart of the order, while Oregon State pushed a run across with a bases-loaded walk.
Freshman Brett Hanewich got the start on Friday but had a shaky outing, lasting 5.2 innings and allowing a season-high four runs. Oregon State’s ace, senior southpaw Ben Wetzler, who entered Friday’s game with a 5-0 record and a 0.47 ERA this season, dominated Cardinal hitters from start to finish. He allowed just one run — none earned — on four hits over nine innings for his first complete game of the year.
After the Cardinal plated an unearned run on a single from sophomore catcher Wayne Taylor in the second inning, Stanford’s best chance to score came in the seventh, as consecutive two-out singles once again brought Taylor to the plate. He flew out to right field to end the inning, and Wetzler cruised for the rest of the game.
Saturday’s pitching matchup was most favorable for the Cardinal, as they faced the Beavers’ lone right-handed starter, sophomore Andrew Moore, while sending the rolling Quantrill to the mound.
While the Stanford offense had eight hits off Moore in the game’s first seven innings, they were not able to come through with men in scoring position. The team was 0-for-10 with those situations and it left 13 men on base in the game. The Cardinal hit into three rally-killing double plays on Saturday, and six total in the series.
Senior A.J. Vanegas came on to relieve Quantrill in the eighth inning with the game still scoreless, and he pitched a strong four innings out of the bullpen, allowing just four base runners overall. But in the bottom of the 13th, the Beavers’ freshman shortstop Trever Morrison singled through the left side to lead off the inning and then advanced on a passed ball and a sacrifice bunt. Oregon State walked off on a game-winning single by the next hitter, taking the game 1-0.
After Stanford’s offensive struggles on Saturday, which included not having a hit in extra innings, Marquess hit junior Alex Blandino in the leadoff spot for the first time in his career in an effort to shake up the lineup.
“Just to change it up a little bit. We hadn’t had much production the way we had [the order],” Marquess said of the change. “But it didn’t produce anything.”
Freshman Chris Viall lasted just 1.1 innings for the second consecutive start, this time allowing two runs on three hits and two walks before getting the early hook. While Hochstatter came in and shut out the Beavers for the rest of the game, the Cardinal hitters were able to plate just one run — coming on three consecutive singles in the third inning.
While pitching and defense have been strong suits for Stanford as of late, the team will look to get its offense going as it returns home for a local matchup against UC-Davis at Sunken Diamond on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. followed by a road trip to Washington this weekend.
Contact Jordan Wallach at jwallach ‘at’ stanford.edu.